mothering and empowerment (updated)

July 8, 2006

*this is a rant i posted at my blog moments ago. i thought i would post it here as well*

lately i have been hearing far too many stories from family members about utter nonsense happening at hospitals when they are having their babies.

mind you, i did have a homebirth, but i am not anti-hospital. i just know how very well-informed, and well-prepared, you have to be to have a hospital birth and not get pushed around.
for instance, about two months ago my cousin called from home to tell me that she was having trouble and had not nursed for two days based on hospital doctors suggestion just before she left with her 2 day old baby. apparently he was jaundiced and the doctor said he needed not to nurse because of this. this is the most ludicrous thing i have ever heard. her pediatrician backed me up on this. sothe doctor caused her several days of hassle and trouble having to reintroduce the breast and get the baby used to nursing, because he told her to stop.

there is rarely ever a reason a mother cannot nurse her child. unless a mother is deathly ill, or on some serious, serious meds, she can nurse her baby.

my cousin was determined and everything has been peachy since she trusted her gut, consulted her pediatrician and the baby is a nursing champ.

fast forward to today, and this is what i am really burned up about right now.

jason’s brother and his wife had a baby girl yesterday after two very hard days of labor, who they named Shyla. we get a call today about 530 with jacob telling us that the hospital has not let the mother see her baby since she was delivered, over 24 hours prior!!!!! this is simply unacceptable.

apparently, the rule is the infant cannot go back into the delivery room at this particular hospital, but they still did not have a real room ready for the mother. she has lots of stitches, etc, so they were telling her she could not get up.

pardon the expletive, but this is complete bullshit. this is the most important time for a mother to be with her child, for a family to bond. the hospital should go out of its way to make this happen. instead, the mother is sitting in a room for hours upon hours, not allowed to see her baby, the baby is being fed formula, when she wants to nurse her child.

needless to say i said my piece on the phone. jacob then went and talked to someone and made it happen. they got stacie into a wheelchair and got her to her baby, and now they have their own room and she is trying to nurse. unfortunately, they had just fed Shyla some formula in the nursery. how the hell is she going to want to eat mothers milk with a full belly?

which brings me around to more of my point. the state of things in our country is so messed up on so many levels. we give our power away right and left. we are taught to trust in establishment and we take that word as law. and i am here to say that once you become a parent, you are the law, damnit. you have a right to demand that you be given the respect that you deserve. this is your baby, not theirs. unless you or the baby are in serious harms way, you have a right to see your baby! you have a right to say do not feed it formula! you have a right to so much more than the schedule and whatever else might just make things easier for the hospital or the doctor who wants to play his freaking golf game!!!!

the thing is, i get so fired up about this, that i end up feeling like it is my responsibility to make these things happen. when really, it is not. it is each parent’s. it is not my responsibility to make sure these things happen. i do feel it is my responsibility to share the knowledge and experience i have, but i cannot force it on people. it just breaks my heart when i hear mothers express to me that they want to do one thing, and then at the least they are not supported in that choice, at worst they are flippantly told they cannot do it, baselessly.

so please – if you are going to have a birth at a hospital, inform yourself! know your rights! you have more choices than they would care for you to know. empower yourself by informing yourself, please! otherwise the choices are not really choices.

if i had had childcare today, the Med would not have known what hit them. i would have swooped up in there and been like Sally Fields in irreconcilable differences, or whatever movie that is. thankfully, i called my midwife and she reminded me that the mother is really the only one who can put her foot down, that i have to be in her ear, but i cannot save her and the sanctity of her choices, only she can do that. such a lesson for me – that i cannot be everyone’s hero, everyone’s mother.

UPDATE:i spoke with my best friend who is a nurse in a neighboring hospital to the main one from this diary. she informed me that the environment that the nurses and doctors deal with there is one in which many mothers refuse to even touch their babies, send them to the nursery, and want to be left alone, even getting mad at infants for crying, etc, etc.

a far, far place from mothers who are happy to have their children. i made her stop telling me about it, because i was crying to hear these things.

so apparently, my SIL(? not sure they exact way to term her) is the exception to the rule there, and once she and jacob spoke up, they received support for their wishes. i imagine they were a nice change of pace for the staff there, once they realized what was really up.